School officials angry that Congress may put lunch bill on back-burner |

School officials angry that Congress may put lunch bill on back-burner

Colleen O'Connor
The Denver Post
(RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)Kevin Concannon of the U.S. Department of Agriculture dines with students Wednesday at Fairmont Dual Immersion Academy. Concannon said he hoped Congress would swiftly pass a bill that boosts funding for school lunches, a measure that House Republicans have held up.

A school lunch initiative advocated by Michelle Obama and supported by school districts across Colorado is now teetering in the U.S. House of Representatives with suddenly uncertain prospects for passage.

Anti-hunger advocates and school nutritionists in Colorado expressed anger Wednesday at word that the $4.5 billion bill had been blocked by Republicans after they objected to the plan Democrats had crafted for paying the bill’s cost.

Kevin Concannon, undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was visiting Denver Wednesday to tout the benefits of nutritious school lunches when he was taken by surprise by the twist in the measure’s path through Congress.

“This legislation should be passed without further delay, and I hope and expect that will happen tomorrow,” said Concannon, after he spent time eating lunch with school kids in the Baker neighborhood at Fairmont Dual Immersion Academy. The cafeteria cooks there make most of the school’s meals from scratch instead of relying on processed food, a practice that would be made easier by increased funding included in the bill.

“It’s absolutely unconscionable that our elected officials think so little of the children in this country that they cannot get it together to pass this bill,” said Ann Cooper, director of nutrition services for Boulder Valley School District. “This is a very imperfect bill, but it is the best shot have we have right now.”

Read more: School officials angry that Congress may put lunch bill on back-burner – The Denver Post

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